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How did serious modelers handle raised panel lines in those days?


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You can find photos of IPMS/USA Nationals winners in the Journals and other places.  If I'm not mistaken, they started showing up in FineScale in the 80s.  And let's not forget the various reader's galleries.  While they may not have been Nationals winners, they were still high quality work.  Finally, don't forget the articles themselves.

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If I remember right, back in the late 70s or early 80s Fine scale used to be Fine Aircraft Modeling or something close to that.

Back when I started building we had things like solid wing, with the national markings and numbers molded riight into the plastic. Wood models aircraft were still available, the pilots were part of the fuselage halves.  Later came a piece with the pilot and or back seater molded as one piece with in their seats with some type of equipment molded as one piece.

If you sanded away panel lines you could replaced them with a piece of stretch sprue if the correct width.  Some people didn't bother doing that, they just left the lines stay away and moved on.  Others would sand all the lines off carefully..

Now if you wanted to detail the cockpit, you had to build the parts yourself.

Sometimes you had to mix your own colors, but when IPMS put out a mixing chart, it got easier.  A lot has changed and sometimes I go back to the old ways when I can and have to for certain parts.

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29 minutes ago, ikar said:

...Back when I started building we had things like solid wing, with the national markings and numbers molded riight into the plastic. ...

 

Ouch - I remember those.  Seemed like a good idea at the time.

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Ah, yes.  The early days of Aurora, Revell and others.  Strombecker solid wood kits were still commonly available and plans of cross sections of ships were printed on graphs in Popular Mechanics so you could enlarge them by copying the graphs onto larger graph paper by hand with a pencil.  How good were the enlarged sections?  It depended on how good your eye was and your skill with a pencil.  Monogram was just becoming known for wood kits with plastic detail parts. 

 

Time period?  Late 40s to early 50s, injected plastic kits were just getting started,,,anyone remember the Highway Pioneers series or early cars or horsedrawn fire equipment?...and the IPMS was still fifteen years down the road.  Ain't it amazin' how things change?  Incidentally, sometime the old methods still work better than anything new.

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On 7/10/2020 at 2:21 PM, dai phan said:

I remember a technique in a VHS tape from a person who placed first at the US National IPMS with his Mig 29 1/32 and he talked about " forced paneling". That is holding a card next to a panel lines and airbrush with a lighter color to simulate the panels. Dai 

 

That would be the kit built by master modeler Chris Wilson from the 1991 IPMS Nationals. :rolleyes: :rofl:
MiG-29_1_zpsb4qcqu5s.jpg

MiG-29_2_zpssdcpltpp.jpg

The video was released the following year:

The forced panel line part begins at 42:45. This kit actually had engraved panel lines and rivets. This was the first technique I learned to highlight panels back in the early 80s, long before pre-shading came about.

That hair...:crying:

 

As for how we dealt with raised lines, most just left them and painted the kits, then some added weathering. Clean, un-weathered with raised lines used to be the typical build.

 

:cheers:

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Believe it or not, since all kits were produced with raised panel line, the method was considered normal...until the first few kits with recessed liines hit the market.  Before that happened, you had the occasional modeler....looking for ways to improve his model....who started experimenting with replacing the raised lines with recessed lines.  Scribing methods were all over the landscape since no dedicated scribing tools were available.  Today we're swamped...blessed, you could say...with a wide choice of tools specifically designed for scribing.

 

Incidentally, before recessed lines became commonplace, we developed techniques to replace lost railsed lines.  Yep, stretched sprue and fishing line were two of the methods, but another was to use a #11 blade along a straightedge guide to connect remaining parts of a raised line.  The resulting raised plastic edge that the blade created would replace the missing raised line.  Granted, the smaller the scale, the more 'realistic' the effect, but it was just one more solution to a problem.

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2 hours ago, Zactoman said:

 

That would be the kit built by master modeler Chris Wilson from the 1991 IPMS Nationals. :rolleyes: :rofl:
 

 

The video was released the following year:

 

The forced panel line part begins at 42:45. This kit actually had engraved panel lines and rivets. This was the first technique I learned to highlight panels back in the early 80s, long before pre-shading came about.

That hair...:crying:

 

As for how we dealt with raised lines, most just left them and painted the kits, then some added weathering. Clean, un-weathered with raised lines used to be the typical build.

 

:cheers:

 

Love the jazzy music between scenes. :thumbsup:

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I never got into the letter writing  technique until computers came out with word processors. In those 80's I just did some half butt scribbling and liquid paper and left at that. How did you guys handle it then?

 

I never got into the braking in the rain technique until cars came out with ABS. In those 80's I just did some half butt skidding and sliding and left at that. How did you guys handle it then?

 

I never got into the (fill in the blank) technique until (fill in the blank) came out with (fill in the blank). In those 80's I just did some half butt (fill in the blank) and left at that. How did you guys handle it then?

 

:popcorn:

 

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Habu2,  you are a delight.  And you're right, too.  We handled things with what we had and knew about at the time.  The question is accurate from a historical and academic perspective, though it is useful when it comes to techniques that have stood the test of time but have been forgotten by many.

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1 hour ago, IPMSUSA2 said:

Habu2,  you are a delight.  And you're right, too.  We handled things with what we had and knew about at the time.  The question is accurate from a historical and academic perspective, though it is useful when it comes to techniques that have stood the test of time but have been forgotten by many.

Word.

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On 7/10/2020 at 2:47 PM, Darren Roberts said:

 

Actually, I kind of get what echolmberg is saying. I don't think dai phan meant anything negative from his title. However, echolmberg has a legitimate gripe. I've had personal interactions with other modelers at contests who've asked me why I didn't rescribe the lines on my Monogram Tomcats. I said it took too long, and a good result could  be achieved with the raised lines. I was told that a "serious" modeler would have rescribed the lines. I kind of thought I was a serious modeler, being that I write for Finescale Modeler and have won awards at the national level. I guess I'm not serious enough. 😄  In addition, one gets the feeling from various threads that if a kit has raised lines, it is somehow inferior to ones with recessed lines. The extention of that is why would any serious modeler even touch a kit with raised lines?

That's the type of experience that makes me avoid the whole contest scene.  

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29 minutes ago, Napalmakita said:

That's the type of experience that makes me avoid the whole contest scene.  

 

The experience described by echolmberg is not indicative of every contest or contestant.  We're all individuals and each has their own perspective.  Keep in mind that realism is in the eye of the beholder and the object of a contest...at least 98% of the time...is to showcase your skill at the modelbuilding art to other modelbuilders.  And believe me, it IS an art.  What you consider an incredible model, others may not.  This is what makes judging of any contest difficult and magnitudes greater on an IPMS Nationals level.  Still, most of the time the results are fair, accurate and everyone...usually...leaves satisfied.  So don't avoid the contest scene.  But when you enter a contest and someone nitpicks or complains about what you did or didn't do...and this can happen even if you place or even win a top prize...just consider the source.  Remember, the only one you have to satisfy is you, unless winning is really THAT important to you.

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58 minutes ago, IPMSUSA2 said:

 

The experience described by echolmberg is not indicative of every contest or contestant.  We're all individuals and each has their own perspective.  Keep in mind that realism is in the eye of the beholder and the object of a contest...at least 98% of the time...is to showcase your skill at the modelbuilding art to other modelbuilders.  And believe me, it IS an art.  What you consider an incredible model, others may not.  This is what makes judging of any contest difficult and magnitudes greater on an IPMS Nationals level.  Still, most of the time the results are fair, accurate and everyone...usually...leaves satisfied.  So don't avoid the contest scene.  But when you enter a contest and someone nitpicks or complains about what you did or didn't do...and this can happen even if you place or even win a top prize...just consider the source.  Remember, the only one you have to satisfy is you, unless winning is really THAT important to you.

 

In addition to this excellent advice, you have to consider that on any given day, a specific model will (or won't) do well. I entered an 1/48 F-4 Phantom at a local show and place. A few months down the road I went to IPMS Nationals and entered it and took 3rd. You just never know what the judges are looking at.

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28 minutes ago, Darren Roberts said:

 

In addition to this excellent advice, you have to consider that on any given day, a specific model will (or won't) do well. I entered an 1/48 F-4 Phantom at a local show and place. A few months down the road I went to IPMS Nationals and entered it and took 3rd. You just never know what the judges are looking at.

I once entered an 1/48 Eduard Albatross DVa at the IPMS Milwaukee WI chapter and IPMS West Demoines IA in 1997and both took gold. The year before that it took third at the IPMS chapter in Twin Cities MN and others did not place at all. Contest is like fishing. Dai 

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A bit of historical and cultural perspective on how things came about.

 

Recessed panel lines pre-date Hasegawa of the ‘80s. There are even some Revell, Aurora,Lindberg and other kits from the ‘60s or earlier that had them, but didn’t become a “thing” yet and presumably manufacturers realized panel lines can be simulated more inexpensively with raised lines. 
 

Japanese professional modelers who wrote for publications like Model Art and Hobby Fan in the ‘70s began to rescribe their builds because they were considered to photograph better when panel lines were inked to show them off more clearly in the magazines. From a cultural perspective, Japanese modelers liked this look because it was consistent with Japan’s aesthetic of clear and crisp, as seen in the unique art of “ukiyoe” better known as wood block printing that was cultivated during the feudal samurai era.

 

On the other hand, Western modeling styles in the ‘70s and ‘80s tended to incorporate weathering, including fading, highlights, chipping, rust, dry brushing, etc (the Shep Paine style) to replicate as closely as possible how subjects appeared in wartime photos, etc. This was very consistent with a Western aesthetic that was cultivated in oil paintings during the Renaissance period in Europe.

 

Whether modeling style preference in Japan influenced how manufacturers designed kits is unclear, but as companies like Otaki and Nichimo advanced mold-cutting techniques with recessed panels, Hasegawa, Tamiya, Fujimi, etc soon followed suit. This made it a lot easier for Japanese modelers to emulate the look they saw in Japanese model magazines and became the norm by the late ‘80s.

 

Around this time, Francois Verlinden combined the Japanese and Western styles of modeling. It was then that Verlinden declared that all models should have recessed panel lines and it kinda became gospel for many modelers. it also made it easier for modelers of average skill to replace lines lost through sanding seams.So there was a practical consumer benefit, and forced companies like Monogram to switch to recessed panel lines and mold-making was outsourced to Korea and later China to be more cost effective.

 

Fast forward to today, where post-shading, forced shading, pre-shading, black-basing, marbling, etc. in addition to panel line washes have become a global norm. As with any art, it’s about artists copying each other’s techniques and introducing new ones.

 

Rescribing is merely an artistic style used to achieve a particular look and in my opinion not a measure of how serious of a modeler you are. Just like someone who builds award-winning models with brush painting is no less serious than someone who uses an airbrush.

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On 7/11/2020 at 5:35 PM, ikar said:

Now if you wanted to detail the cockpit, you had to build the parts yourself.

In my middle school age years I once won a model contest with a Monogram 1/72 P-51B which had canopy sawn open and cockpit sides detailed with slivers of painted paper and balsa.

Kit supplied a decent instrument panel and most importantly to me, a nice looking pilot figure.

  

Revell had a series of 1/72 WW2 fighters which had greatly simplified cockpit parts and bulkier pilot figures, except for their Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien and Hawker Tempest, those pilot figures seemed to the about the size of 5th graders compared to the other figures.

 

And the P-47 in particular had lots, and lots, and lots, of raised rivets, probably que ball size in scale!

 

I kinda didn't care and sometimes would leave such rivets and lines and would sometimes shave and sand them shallower to more closely match what could not be seen in the average photo taken from the average viewing distance and printed in the average aviation book or magazine.

 

Losing raised panel lines to fuselage seam sanding really, really, bugged me but only once or twice did I try to replace them, my dexterity was good but it wasn't brain surgeon good.

 

Remembering looking in what modeling magazines there were at that time, the thing I would call 'most advanced' on weathering was using silver Rub-n-Buff for chipped and worn areas on wing leading edges, prop blades, and walkways on WW2 fighter wings.

 

Stretched sprue for radio wires and biplane wing wires with rare use of fine music wire for wing wires. 

 

It was indeed a different world from today.

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If nothing else, this thread proves that a lot of us have been building models for a very long time.  It also makes me wonder how many of us have violated every rule in the book..."there ain''t no rules as long as it works"...to get the result we were looking for.  Such things as lacquer thinner in enamel paint, human hair for antenna lines and sailing ship rigging, porous surgical tape for dappled or faded paint effects, stainless steel surgical sutures as a source for fine wire, hypodermic needles for metal gun barrels, dental root canal files for enlarging small holes and on and on.  Some of the methods worked, others didn't.  Human hair wasn't too successful since a change in the humidity would cause it to loosen or tighten.  But there were no rules.  We tried everything.

 

This even applied to airbrushes.  When I was painting models for Bell Helicopter, Bell provided me with milspec urethane paint straight out of 55 gallon drums.  This was two part paint that also required a double element respirator if you wanted to keep your lungs in one piece.  It was also thick, even after mixing the catalyst with the paint according to the recommended ratio.  Too thick for a Paasche VL5 airbrush.  So what did I do?  Reversed the ratio to something like three or four parts paint to twenty or thirty parts catalyst, pulled the needle back in the airbrush, jacked the pressure to forty or fity psi and sprayed away.  Result?  Excellent.  Which goes to prove that just because something is supposed to be done a certain way doesn't mean it has to be done that way.  At least sometimes.

 

In our drive for absolute realism combined with the incredible growth of the aftermarket, you wonder if we've lost some of our creativity along the way.  Sure, we have incredibly readable photoetched instrument panels in full color...even if it does take a microscope to read some of them, perfect perforated machine gun barrels from brass in scales as small as 72nd scale and so on.  But I remember Hawk U-2 models in 48th scale where the modeler scratchbuilt a complete cockpit, including raised control buttons reproduced from grains of salt that were cut in half and the result was realistic enough to win at a contest.  Today others...the aftermarket...do it for us.

 

Yeah, I know, I'm as guilty as anyone else when it comes to using all the fabulous aftermarket products.  But I go back far enough to remember and have used all the early techniques I've mentioned here.  Some are still viable, but you have to wonder if today's modelers...especially the younger ones...have even heard of the early methods, let alone would be able to effectively use them.

 

Just a few thoughts from the archives.

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I recall FSM had a couple of articles on how to build models with the raised panel lines, to include fixing what was removed when you had to sand and putty.  Been meaning to try it out when I build a model with raised panel lines.

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On 7/10/2020 at 7:47 PM, Darren Roberts said:

 

Actually, I kind of get what echolmberg is saying. I don't think dai phan meant anything negative from his title. However, echolmberg has a legitimate gripe. I've had personal interactions with other modelers at contests who've asked me why I didn't rescribe the lines on my Monogram Tomcats. I said it took too long, and a good result could  be achieved with the raised lines. I was told that a "serious" modeler would have rescribed the lines. I kind of thought I was a serious modeler, being that I write for Finescale Modeler and have won awards at the national level. I guess I'm not serious enough. 😄  In addition, one gets the feeling from various threads that if a kit has raised lines, it is somehow inferior to ones with recessed lines. The extention of that is why would any serious modeler even touch a kit with raised lines?

 

A serious modeller like you doesnt care about raised or recessed, they build and others look on in wonder.

 

 

On 7/10/2020 at 9:17 PM, dai phan said:

When I mean "serious" I meant contest winning modelers. I have been building model since 1972 and had placed at many IPMS contests. I didn't do anything with my raised panels models until companies started making them in mid 80's other than some light dry brushing. I just wonder if there were techniques in those days to highlight the raised panel lines from all the master expert modelers here. Dai 

 

By the sound of it you started when i did. recessed wasnt a thought back then, there were very few who scribed the panel lines into models and we won awards then like they do now.

Even when the likes of Hasegawa started making recessed panel lines in the mid 80s raised wasnt a problem.
Oils isnt a modern thing to highlight, and a technique mentioned below was used to demark each panel. I used something like Frisket film myself. it really makes you appreciate some of the advances made in masking tapes over the years.

 

 

On 7/10/2020 at 9:21 PM, dai phan said:

I remember a technique in a VHS tape from a person who placed first at the US National IPMS with his Mig 29 1/32 and he talked about " forced paneling". That is holding a card next to a panel lines and airbrush with a lighter color to simulate the panels. Dai 

 

Used in a similar way these days with colour modulation. but these days they dont seem to place the colours on panels just on view aspects which is why it works but doesnt work as each panel does catch the light differently to the next. But thats not to take anything away from how they do it now, it looks great either way.

 

 

On 7/11/2020 at 1:11 AM, Kurt H. said:

Hey IPMSUSA2,

 

What did modelers do with panel lines in the 60s, 70s and 80s?  I did not start going to model shows until the 90s so I just do not know. Did modelers weather aircraft in previous decades?  

 

What trends do you remember over the years? 

 

raised gives their own natural shadows, you would be surprised what you can hide from panel to panel with a raised line between them.

 

Glues have changed a lot over the years. Acrylic paints have changed the way we can paint, thinners are a lot better now too for all paints from enamels to acrylics.

Not having to add resin detail sets to most of the kits on the market, but weathering is the new black.

 

 

On 7/11/2020 at 3:57 AM, Mstor said:

Actually, I used an oil paint panel line wash in basically the same way as is done with recessed panel lines. I got a lot of my techniques from the "Verlinden Method" in one of his books. Came out looking pretty good is I remember correctly. This was mostly on later Monogram kits, like the F-15 and F-14. 

This BS about raised panel line kits not being serious modeling is just that, BS. Back in the day, we used what we had and tried to make the models look as life-like as possible. 

Im with you on that one.

I dont mind raised panel lines.
My biggest problem with them was trying to put them back once you sanded them off...
Humbrol filler layed down very carefully between two strips of masking tape (decorators tape I think its called now)

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The problem with this hobby is that too many modellers take this hobby too seriously. 
 

It’s evident here. It’s at shows, in magazines articles and reviews.

 

So many literally argue over the number of rivets on a spar box they may as well be arguing about the lengths of their members. What ever happened to the enjoyment of building a model?

 

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Couldn't agree more...and I build models for a living.  It's one thing to get something as accurate and realistic as is reasonably possible, but it's something else again to obsess over a wingspan being 1/1000th of an inch too long...or short.  There's no rational reason for a 25 power microscope to be a required tool when building a 72nd...or 48th...or 32nd...scale model. 

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At risk of adding flames, I beg to differ with a few minor points made here. I agree with the thought that a serious modeler takes his craft seriously, that's kind of obvious, but I would dare say awards, "realism", "accuracy", and other such goals aren't the only mark of seriousness. I think someone can be deviating from such things and still be putting their heart and minds into the build and produce a very "serious" model that might not look anything like a real subject or win any awards.

 

And on the flip side, I'd argue that just because some obsess over things that may seem trivial to others, that does not mean they aren't enjoying the hobby. It simply means they find joy in a different area of the hobby than others might. To me personally, I LOVE looking at reference photos, trying to dig down into the little details about how an object works and "obsess" over what it really looks like and how it functions. Unfortunately my skill-set doesn't always allow me to model the things I've found, but others are able to do so (looking at you master Zacto cough cough). And what might seem like a exercise in futility to some is complete and utter bliss to others. I think this simple difference of mindset is the root of MANY of the flame wars that happen between the "rivet counters" and the other groups. A misunderstanding about what gives a person joy in the hobby. Some don't understand the obsession rivet counters have and think they suck the joy out of the hobby and rivet counters sometimes lose sight of the fact the others don't care about such things and get a little pushy as well. Everyone should just chill and let others have their joy no matter what form that takes. The problems come from a simple lack of perspective from the "other side".

 

This of course is just my opinion. Your mileage may vary.

 

Bill

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26 minutes ago, niart17 said:

At risk of adding flames, I beg to differ with a few minor points made here. I agree with the thought that a serious modeler takes his craft seriously, that's kind of obvious, but I would dare say awards, "realism", "accuracy", and other such goals aren't the only mark of seriousness. I think someone can be deviating from such things and still be putting their heart and minds into the build and produce a very "serious" model that might not look anything like a real subject or win any awards.

 

And on the flip side, I'd argue that just because some obsess over things that may seem trivial to others, that does not mean they aren't enjoying the hobby. It simply means they find joy in a different area of the hobby than others might. To me personally, I LOVE looking at reference photos, trying to dig down into the little details about how an object works and "obsess" over what it really looks like and how it functions. Unfortunately my skill-set doesn't always allow me to model the things I've found, but others are able to do so (looking at you master Zacto cough cough). And what might seem like a exercise in futility to some is complete and utter bliss to others. I think this simple difference of mindset is the root of MANY of the flame wars that happen between the "rivet counters" and the other groups. A misunderstanding about what gives a person joy in the hobby. Some don't understand the obsession rivet counters have and think they suck the joy out of the hobby and rivet counters sometimes lose sight of the fact the others don't care about such things and get a little pushy as well. Everyone should just chill and let others have their joy no matter what form that takes. The problems come from a simple lack of perspective from the "other side".

 

This of course is just my opinion. Your mileage may vary.

 

Bill

 

You are spot on Bill. Where it goes off the rails is when comments are made. We've all heard them. "This kit is a piece of garbage that should be tossed in the trash. In fact, I did throw it away because it was unbuildable." Or, "Just stop complaining and build it. Be glad a kit manufacturer even made it." I'm going to dive deep philosophically for a moment. As humans, we tend to seek out validation. That validation many times can be found in like-thinking groups. Human nature is to congregate with others we perceive as similar to us, whether it be values, appearance, interests, etc. I think that most of the dust-ups occur because we are looking for validation for our views, and we may not even know we're doing it. We'd all be better off if we tried to appreciate the other person's ideas and not make any disparaging comments. It may even go beyond modeling and work in every aspect of our lives. Alright, I'm done being philosophical. Now, where did I put my paint brush. I'm feeling lazy and I'm going to hand paint my model because I don't want to break out the airbrush. 😄

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8 minutes ago, Darren Roberts said:

 

 Now, where did I put my paint brush. I'm feeling lazy and I'm going to hand paint my model because I don't want to break out the airbrush. 😄

ahhh... so you're NOT a serious modeler! 😆

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The bottom line is that we build models for the pure joy that it gives us.  That is what matters, not whether or not we are 'serious' modelers because we are all serious modelers, each in his or her own way.

 

 

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